The JMMB Group has come on board to the tune of 10 million Jamaican dollars to support the ‘One Laptop or Tablet Per Child’ initiative, following the call made by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), for corporate companies and individuals, in Jamaica and in the diaspora to lend a hand, to this initiative.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI) spearheaded the project along with the Junior Achievement Jamaica and National Education Trust (NET). The initiative is aimed at providing 100,000 students, including children with special needs and wards of the state, with devices to enable full participation in online teaching and learning. It was officially launched last week, October 29.
During Minister of MOEYI, Hon. Fayval Williams speech, she thanked the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation for stepping up to the plate and being true to the vision of its late co-founder, Joan Duncan, whose dream was to help individuals to unearth their greatness. She noted that the ‘One Laptop or Tablet Per Child’ initiative was a step towards holistically closing the digital divide.
“(It) continues the journey to ensuring that our children all across Jamaica will have a device in hand so that we can begin to close the digital divide. Of course, it’s not just about the devices. It is going to be about the connectivity, affordability, e-content that (children) have access to, teachers are trained and continue to be trained on the system; it is going to be about the whole ecosystem that we put around this, to ensure that we teach our children about cybersecurity and how to be safe in the online world.” Further noting, “The goal is to infuse technology in the teaching and learning experience, in the classroom and outside the classroom, (with) the ultimate goal (being) to see improved outcomes in our education sector and move our people along, (so that) Jamaica (can) become a digital society,” she shared. Minister Williams, therefore, highlighted that this initiative forms the beginning of the digital journey for Jamaican children towards digital fluency.
In describing the initiative as a partnership for transforming the education system, chairman of the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation, while speaking at the symbolic handover ceremony at the JMMB Group head office shared, “The Foundation is happy to come on board (to support this initiative) which will benefit Jamaican children. Adding, “One big positive that is coming out of COVID-19, is forcing us to move in the direction of making our children digitally ready for the world and…if we all come together as one country, for our children, we can get there.” She further lauded the PSOJ for leading the charge, and the stakeholders for implementing this initiative, noting, “We are happy to (therefore) be a part of the solution not just as JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation, but as a part of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.” Sutherland also urged other corporate companies and individuals to join in supporting the nation’s children and the transformation of the education sector.
Thus far, other participating stakeholders include Sandals Foundation, Seprod Foundation, NCB Foundation and the Guardian Life Limited and Guardian Group Foundation.
A donation portal has been established to facilitate corporate and individual donations, locally and globally.
Persons interested in making monetary donations may do so through the Connect A Child JA portal (www.connectachildja.com), managed by the PSOJ in partnership with the NCB Foundation.
For overseas donors sending devices, they should use the Guidelines for Donating through NET. This will ensure that waivers are applied once the devices arrive in Jamaica. The guidelines can be reviewed at http://www.net.org.jm/resource. Local donors providing devices can present the same to NET.
For more information on the project, persons may call the NET at 876-967-9007 or 967-7962.
The One Laptop or Tablet Per Child’ initiative complements the current roll-out of devices to an estimated 148,000 students on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) being undertaken by the government.